Turkish FM Çavuşoğlu's congratulated Dendias on Greek Independence Day!

turkish foreign minister mevlüt çavuşoğlu greek foreign minister nikos dendias

A new era for Greek-Turkish relations is perhaps on the horizon after Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias received a congratulatory letter from his Turkish counterpart Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on Greek Independence Day!

According to diplomatic sources, the Turkish Foreign Minister, apart from the wishes for Greece's independence from the Turkish Ottoman Empire after 400 years of occupation, declared that he is confident that good neighbourly relations will be consolidated in the future.

Along the same lines, he declared that he is determined to further contribute to the positive dynamics of the bilateral relations between Athens and Ankara, which is improving since Greek offered significant and immediate aid to Turkey following the devastating earthquake.

In addition, the same sources reported that the Turkish Foreign Minister once again thanks the Greek government and the Greek people for the solidarity and assistance they offered to Turkey after the earthquake.

"Turkey extends a hand of understanding"

In interview with Proto Thema, Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias spoke about the new page in Greece-Turkey relations.

As he pointed out, "Turkish delinquency has turned into something non-existent" and at the same time President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan "extends a hand of understanding towards Greece."

"Turkey is not naïve," the Greek minister emphasises, adding that "Greece has an absolute obligation to go through the door that Turkey opened," with constructive dialogue and "new prospects for auspicious course" of Greek-Turkish relations "in the near future future but also in the long term."

Greek Independence Day

Each year on March 25, Greeks all over the world celebrate Greek Independence Day, which is a national holiday in Greece.

This is when Greeks remember their long struggle against the Ottoman Empire, an effort that eventually leads to Greece’s independence. Today, in fact, marks the beginning of the Greek War for Independence, not the end.

For hundreds of years, much of Greece had been taken over by the Ottoman Empire until the 1820’s when much of the country eventually overcame Turkish rule. Several factors contributed to the Turks coming to Greece, including the Byzantine Empire, which ruled for around 1100 years and then began to decline.

However, the Ottoman Empire’s push to Greece eventually began when they captured Constantinople in 1453. Once the capital of the Byzantine Empire was taken, it was only a matter of time before much of Greece fell under Ottoman control.

The Ottoman Empire ruled for around four hundred years, and this wasn’t easy for the Greeks. Those who were unable to flee Greece and establish new lives in Western Europe suffered. Turkish reign was oppressive for many reasons.

One problem was that they had an apparent disregard for Greece’s glorious past. At one point, they used the Parthenon to store munitions and didn’t treat it as the beautiful, historical landmark it really was. Another problem was that Orthodox Christians weren’t able to express their faith in public. Since most of Greece is Orthodox, this caused a feeling of unease amongst the Greek people.

Those are just two examples of problems that arose between the Turks and the Greeks. Generally, because the Greeks felt oppressed, this caused unrest throughout occupied Greece. There were several resistance movements that formed through the duration of Turkish rule.

However, it wasn’t until March 25, 1821, that these movements posed any real threat to the Ottoman Empire.

In the Battle of Navarino, British, Russian, and French forces destroyed an Ottoman fleet. This battle was a major victory which eventually led to the signing of the Treaty of Erdine in 1829 which finally established an Independent Greek state.

Though what ensued was a period of uncertainty in Greece, the country was officially independent.

Today, cities throughout the world will celebrate. Throughout Greece, Cyprus, Australia, the United States, Germany, Britain, Canada, South Africa, New Zealand and beyond- Greeks will be holding their blue and white flag high with pride!

READ MORE: Haiti was the first country to recognise Greek independence.